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Today, I spoke to Yinka Olaito, Yinka is a personal brandiYinkang and social media expert. He helps individuals, organizations to maximize values in their brands/ideas through adequate positioning of their brands to the target audience that can pay premium. Also, he functions as public relations consultant, columnist and writer, trainer and public speaker.

You can connect with him via @Facebook @Twitter @LinkedIn

Mohammed: Unemployed people are changing their job titles many times because of the crisis, how will that impact their personal brand? And how can they use any career experience for the strength of their brands?

Yinka: Let us look at this from a three sixty degree view. First, my take is ‘inconsistent robs individual of any value’. We must remember the fact that differentiation aids strong memory and perception. When an individual begins to accept everything that is thrown at him/her, the brand equity may start diminishing gradually. Initially it may appear that no harm is being done but over time, it will become obvious that one has no solid hold on a particular field. More also, taking any job that will not aid the use of personal skills, expertise will strongly expose personal brand inefficiency, weakness. A smart individual should always play the game from his/her strongest point. I as an individual will want to believe also that the effect of inconsistency  in job description may not be well pronounced on a college graduate who may not be well known as much as someone who has been into personal branding journey for a long time. That makes situational analysis important in this regard.

Having said this, I believe that job titles sometimes do not necessarily describe a brand personality. For instance Dan Schawbel’s job title at EMC has a social media role meanwhile he is recognized as a personal branding expert not a social media guru. If the job title can aid the discovery of hidden talents, skills as well as make an individual relevant to the niche community he belongs to, why not? Another point of view here is that there is nothing that is totally bad. If due to recession, bad economy and needs to remain afloat, pay bills some are already involved, my counsel is to look for a story out of the experience to project a brand personality that is still impactful. Also, let us not forget that why keeping the job, one can still continue to be relevant online through a strategic personal branding building online.

Mohammed: I started to hear some people blaming personal branding experts as they promote “Don’t” more than “Do” making by that social media a prison. How do you describe personal branding to these people and why we are seeing a lot of contradictions?

Yinka: For this set of people my take is that every opportunity has an attachment called responsibility. For instance we are all given a chance to live life to the fullest. As much as we have this right, we all have to take personal responsibility to live our lives in a certain way that will make the life we have to make meaning. We must avoid staying on the express way in order not to get crushed by a car on the fast line. We must also take responsibility of not eating poison among many other responsibilities. Let us note also that personal branding must clearly impact a certain community. To impact anyone, we must learn to respect their times, values, spaces etc.

Now if one wants to impact positively any community but do not want to go by the rules, one may eventually lose credibility, relevance. This is the essence of the ‘Donts’. You can not eat your cake and have it. Choice has to come in. If one cannot live by required, basic relationship rules of the society/niche I guess there is no need to desire the world to revolve around personal goal of wanting to ‘live as I like without giving a damn’. For me personal branding is opportunity to impact, bring necessary improvement on the lives of the niche. This is carries huge responsibility.

Mohammed: Are we going to rate people reputation ONLY based on their online history? How can we keep positive image while being ourselves and not hiding the human side?

Yinka: The internet is giving us opportunity to meet people we may not have met in life. Through people activities on the net, we form an impression of who they are. This may add to their reputation or reduce them. So the internet helps us to form an impression of who they are. That is reputation as far as I am concerned. Individual must work add to build trust. For me trust is far deeper than reputation. We must note that no great relationship has being built on reputation alone. Reputation carries us as far as acquaintance level. To sustain a long lasting relationship, trust must come in. This shows in personal attitudes, values, ethics etc. Keeping positive image while being ourselves require that we place value on ourselves, learn to play the game right and respect for others. We can still be ourselves while doing these. We must remember life (personal branding) is an opportunity with responsibility attached.

Brand Word:  No matter how crowded the market place is, your unique voice can still be heard.

SpotlightYinka Olaito uniqueness is in developing engaging strategy that gives individual, corporate organization unfair, competitive advantage that takes profitability to higher level.

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Today, we continue our conversation with Margaret Meloni, Margaret  MeloniMargaret is a project management guru and the founder of Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. In her more than 18 years in corporate America which included roles in Fortune 500 management, Margaret observed how individuals who learned to cope with conflict succeeded and recognized their full potential, while others became road blocked.

You can connect with her via @Facebook @Twitter @LinkedIn

Here is part 2 of the brand conversation.
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Mohammed: How can project manager become a professional communicator. What is the secret ingredients that you have to make 90% of Project Manager’s time work for them especially communicating with difficult people?

Margaret: The secret ingredient is be a fabulous listener and a strategic communicator. Or in the case of written communications, be a very good reader. When you really pay attention to what people are telling you and take action when required, people will continue to communicate with you. When a team member approaches you with information, take time to understand the message. Why are they telling you this information? What do they want you to do? What do you really need to do? Who else needs to know? While this person is communicating with you use active listening to remain engaged and to ensure that you are correctly receiving the message. Active listening includes:
  • While they are talking do not try to form your response. Paraphrase or mirror back to them what you think they are saying, keep working at it until you have an understanding.
  • .Be strategic in the communications that you share with others. When you send an email or publish a document or memo, make sure there is a valid reason. Try to consolidate and plan your communications so that your team and your stakeholders do not receive multiple emails from you, when one would have sufficed. Everyone has too much to read, try and make it easy for them.
  • .If people find that you do not listen or that you do not act upon communications in a timely manner, they might give up on you. If they give up on you your 90% communications time will be time spent desperately trying to keep in the loop, instead of time spent proactively engaging in productive communications. If people find that you hit them with too many meaningless communications, they will stop listening to you and stop reading emails from you; that isn’t the communication brand you want, is it?
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Mohammed: In this tight economy, project managers could be hired to another positions or make career transition. Do you think PM can keep the project management expertise even if they didn’t work directly in project management for years? and how?

Margaret: You are so right! I am hearing from project managers who receiving other job opportunities. The irony? Even though they have not hired into a project manager position, it was their project management expertise that helped them secure the job. It seems that companies are appreciating the extra skill set and perhaps hiring these people with the idea that they can also take advantage of their project management skills.  This means be a good team member and visibly continue to draw upon your project management skills. As you receive assignments, make sure you understand the scope of your assignment just like you would want to understand the scope of your project. Create accurate and well documented estimates. Schedule your time well and exhibit excellent time management skills. Of course make sure your status reporting is flawless. If for some reason you don’t think your current assignment is allowing you to keep your project management expertise current, then volunteer your time as a project manager and keep your education current.
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Mohammed: What are the steps you recommend to people in order to define themselves at work or to create their inner brand?

Margaret:
  1. Define the words that describe you as a professional. Remember, if you do not start with a clear definition, how can others see who you are and what you are made of?
  2. Take your words (I call them brand words) and put them together into a few sentences.
  3. Review your brand words. Define actions that support these words. These are the actions or behaviors that you should be regularly exhibiting.
  4. Keep track of your actions. You know how you want to be perceived and you have defined actions that support that perception, are you acting appropriately?
  5. Ask others to describe you. Your reputation is in their hands. What are they saying?
  6. Objectively review the perceptions others have shared with you. Decide what information you will accept and what you will reject.
  7. Consider making some changes.
  8. Become aware of what triggers you to behave in a way that is not compatible with your brand.
  9. Recognize that managing your brand is part of your career development, grow your brand AND your technical skills.
Brand Word: Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.” – Zen Proverb. Your brand is YOU. The real INNER YOU comes first, be comfortable with who you are and then work on the exterior. Every day that you learn something about yourself is a day where you can strengthen your brand and every day that you let something go is a day where you feel more secure and authentic with your brand. People can sense this in you.
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Brand Spotlight: Sometimes the conflict that people find the most challenging is the conflict around who they want to be or how they wish to be perceived. Many people run headlong into their lives and into their careers without every thinking about this. I am not suggesting that you should obsess over other people’s opinions; but you should know who you are and what you stand for. When you don’t, people will make up their own definition of you. Is that what you want? Of course not! That is why I ask you to stop and think about it? Does your character show up with you at work each day? It should. Remember you own your character, other people make up your reputation.The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. – Joseph Campbell
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See http://margaretmeloni.com/products.html or contact her at for more details.
Click here to read part 1 of the conversation.

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Today, I Interviewed Margaret Meloni, Margaret is a project Margaret  Melonimanagement guru and the founder of Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. In her more than 18 years in corporate America which included roles in Fortune 500 management, Margaret Meloni observed how individuals who learned to cope with conflict succeeded and recognized their full potential, while others became road blocked.

You can connect with her via @Facebook @Twitter @LinkedIn

Here is part 1 of the brand conversation.
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Mohammed: There are millions of projects and thousands of thousands project managers, How can one project manager be remembered and chosen from many project managers to manage $1B project? What personal brand attributes he/she needs to be unique?
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Margaret: It is true there are many project managers. But each of us brings our own unique perspective and way of being to the table. For example, there are project managers you call to rescue troubled projects; there are project managers you call when the team needs a leader who is more people oriented and sometimes we need a leader who has a more militaristic style. When I meet you and you tell me you are an IT project manager, that is just part of the mix. You are more than just a job description. So I urge each of you to get in touch with your own inner brand, the part of you that separates you from the pack. Your inner brand translates to what you want people to see in you and what you want to hear people say about you. It all starts by you being clear about your character.

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I’m always excited to offer valuable information to you. I’ve conducted brand conversations with some of the best, most notable names in social media, personal branding, career and project management. Each person is offering his or her valuable insights on being an entrepreneur, providing lessons learned along the way, and tips to help smooth your road toWalter Akana success.

Today, I Interviewed Walter Akana. He is a career and life strategist who works primarily with mid-career individuals who want to achieve more self direction in their careers and lives. He has more than 25 years of diverse experience, and is a Reach Certified Personal Branding and Online Identity Strategist; as well, he is an RPS trained retirement coach and has a Master’s degree from Columbia University.

You an connect with him via @Facebook @Twitter @LinkedIn

Mohammed: I read “the passion that pays the bills” from your Facebook profile, I love what you said. Can you tell us how can we find our passion and connect it to our expertise? And how can we start a brand new day with the gauge referring to 100% passion?

Walter: I think that many people are intuitively aware of activities that “fire them up” – both at work and in other parts of their lives. Generally, it’s those activities where they become so absorbed that they don’t see the time go by. Yet, it is our passions that can drive fulfillment and accomplishment, if we let them.

The first step is awareness. One way to obtain that awareness is to undertake a personal branding process which involves both introspection and 360 feedback. Introspection can help uncover one’s passions and especially how they’re tied to one’s vision for the world, purpose in life, values, and motivated skills. Examining feedback from others can provide even more clarity about the way our passions connect to expertise and the value we bring to others.

As for setting that passion gauge to 100%, I think that’s the natural result of using our clarity about what excites us to produce value for others!

Mohammed: Social networks can hurt more than help our online identity. What do you advise people who throw negative comments about their boss publicly? And what you recommend to employees who hate their job/boss, but don’t want to quit?

Walter: Generally speaking, my advice for people in managing their online identity is to keep it positive! In fact, like other online identity strategists, I stress cleaning updigital dirtand building a positive online identity that reflects well on who they are and what they offer to others.

(more…)

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